In my sleepy state of awakefulness this morning, I grinned to myself as I thought about what was going on outside and just tried to imagine that happening on the very busy street outside my house in PA.
A man was slowly driving down our soi (street) while speaking very loudly into a microphone, trying to convince the neighborhood to come out and buy his guava, oranges, and whatnot. The nice thing for me (*snicker*) is that he turned around and came back down the soi all the while talking into the microphone so I got to hear it twice.
I'm not sure what time it was, but I heard these vendors do it as early as 7 AM. Can you say "noise ordinance" if this was in the States? Such are the cultural experiences that make up our day to day happenings.
A big group of 20 people just left last night to return home to Fargo, ND. We hosted 5 girls in our house, and I had to laugh when one of the girls couldn't fall asleep one night because she thought she heard a gecko and didn't want it falling on her. In the 6 months I've spent in Thailand, only once have I had a gecko fall on me and that's because it was resting above the kitchen door. The thing about geckos is they're even more afraid of me:).
Another cultural experience I'm thinking about is in regards to this Thursday - Thanksgiving Day. Nina, a missionary's wife in Portugal, mentioned her kids are going to be in school that day. Most times, American holidays mean absolutely nothing overseas. We're "celebrating" Thanksgiving with a potluck on Thursday evening. We have our mid-week service at the Langes on Thursday so it's not going to be anything out of the ordinary, although I'm sure we'll plan our potluck dishes better than we normally do. However, there won't be any turkey at our potluck. It's just way too expensive here (I've heard prices from 2,000-4,000 baht = $56.00 - 112.00).
As we walked through the mall earlier this week, I noticed only a couple of stores that had Christmas displays set up. I'm sure if I asked y'all what it's like in stores in the USA, you would probably be disgusted by the materialism of Christmas and the decorations that have been around since September. Although it doesn't "feel" like it's that time of year again, I have been playing Christmas music (thank you abiding radio!).
But you know, I was thinking the other day I could have two responses to the Thai culture. One could be: why isn't this just like home? My second response can be: wow, I get to experience a new culture and do things differently!
Someone asked me this question this week: "what is the most enjoyable thing about being over there?" My answer wasn't earth-shattering but it was straight from my heart - that the Lord has allowed me the great privilege of just being here in Thailand and that I get to work with the Gaudets. That's why I can look around and smile at things like the fruit guy driving up and down the soi selling his fruit or at the school children who like to laugh and said "hello!!!" really loud and not know how to answer, "How are you?"
It's the cultural experiences I have from day to day that open my eyes and make me realize there's more to life than my little corner of the world. But one cultural experience I haven't had yet is eating bugs and grubs.
I think I'll pass!